Covid-19 Updates in Tonga

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Two more people who were COVID-19 positive have died, the Ministry of Health CEO Dr Siale ‘Akau’ola confirmed today, March 17.

Meanwhile, Government has yet to confirm their decision on whether or not to impose another lockdown, while cases are doubling in Tonga.

He said these two new deaths were still being assessed, including whether they were fully vaccinated or not. One person had cancer, and the other person had septicemia.

These two new deaths brings the total of COVID-19 positive deaths to four in Tonga.

Dr ‘Akau’ola said the two previous deaths recorded included one person who was not vaccinated for COVID-19. One person had died from a heart attack and the other person died from a stroke.

Lockdown being considered

Government is expected to make an announcement tomorrrow morning, regarding their plans for another lockdown that are under consideration.

Meanwhile, domestic inter-island travel services are tightening up.

Domestic services were operating this week. The inter-island ferry MV ‘Otuanga’ofa is expected to arrive from Ha’apai tomorrow morning (Friday).

However, FISA office confirmed today there is no scheduled program for next week.

The ‘Onemato ferry will sail to ‘Eua on Friday, March 18 with no passengers, just cargo.

MV Vaomapa  will carry passengers to ‘Eua on March 19 and Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) are required prior to departure.

The domestic air carrier Lulutai Airlines today cancelled all services to ‘Eua, Ha’apai and Niuatoputapu, “until such time the rising number of COVID Cases is contained”.

Previous COVID lockdowns in Tongatapu and Vava’u have eased over the past weeks with studetns from tertiary levels and forms 6 and 7 returning to the classroom.

When the lockdown first started, only essential services operated where shops opened once or twice a week.

The Ministry of Health reported on facebook today that Tonga now has 1,632 active COVID-19 cases, and 273 new cases were recorded in the last 24 hours.

Positive Cases expected to spike

However, there are known to be more positive cases in the community.

Yesterday, the Minister of Health Hon. Dr Piukala said he expected the COVID-19 positive case numbers reported to spike (rapidly increase) because the Ministry of Health was now counting positive cases detected by rapid antigen tests in addition to PCR tests.

Prior to this, people who tested positive to COVID-19 using a RAT test had to have a PCR test to confirm the result.

May be an image of text that says 'TONGA COVID- UPDATE Thursday 17 March 2022 as of 0600hrs CASES Total Cases 2,530 New Cases* 273 Active Cases** 1632 Recovered 896 Deaths 2 TESTING PCR Tests 12,070 RATs 47,110 VACCINATION 1st Dose Rate 2nd Dose 98% Booster Daily Doses 90% 0 47% *273 New Cases in the last 24 hours 0 0 **Active Case: confirmed case by PCR OR RAT test that is currentlyin isolation'

Source: MOH Tonga, Matangi Tonga Online